An estimated 13 million American men have low testosterone, and the vast majority of them suffer untreated. Over the years, doctors have focused on a woman’s loss of estrogen at menopause, and were not much concerned about hormone problems in their male patients.
But medical experts are starting to recognize that ebbing testosterone can pose health risks and damage quality of life in men.
“It’s normal for testosterone levels in men to decrease with age, and in decades past we never worried about it too much,” says Robert Thompson, M.D, a urologist and co-director of robotic surgery at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. “But then research showed us that low testosterone can cause low sex drive and other medical problems.”
Testosterone, the so-called male hormone, increases during puberty and is responsible for deepening a man’s voice, body hair, muscle tone, and sex drive. Testosterone begins declining around the age of 30, and may gradually diminish over the years, Dr. Thompson tells Newsmax Health.
A simple blood test can determine testosterone levels. Testosterone replacement is available by prescription only and comes in the form of shots, patches, and gels.
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Here are Dr. Thompson’s five top warning signs of waning testosterone. He cautions that other conditions, such as heart issues, can cause these symptoms, so you should consult your doctor if you are suffering from any of them.
“This is a general feeling of tiredness or lack of energy that’s out of the ordinary. It’s a lackluster feeling of having no get-up-and go. He doesn’t feel like playing catch with his son, taking the dog out for a walk, or having sex with his wife,” says Dr. Thompson.
2. Low Sex Drive:
“A man’s sex drive peaks at 18, and then gradually declines. There is a lot of variation, but if he wanted to have sex two or three times a week, and suddenly, that’s declined to once a month or even less often, that could be an indication of low testosterone,” he said.
3. Erectile dysfunction:
“I see a lot of gentlemen with true erectile dysfunction, and testosterone therapy can enable them to perform,” he said. Erectile dysfunction medications, such as Viagra, can used in the short term until testosterone therapy takes effect, he added.
Losing muscular strength is another tip-off of low testosterone. “If you no longer have the strength to swing a golf club or tennis racket for the same length of time you used to, this can be a sign of low testosterone,” said Dr. Thompson.
Low testosterone can cause men to suffer depression, says Dr. Thompson. “I’ve often seen men who are being treated for depression find their mood lifts once the testosterone level is restored,” he added.
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